CORRUPTION AND LIES
Factory Records brought us Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays and, er, Quando Ouango. Now they’ve made it into a movie. On the set of 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE, we rub shoulders with the people who rubbed shoulders with the stars and try to sort the Fac from the fiction. Words: Neil Cooper
he Man On The Telly is hosting the best chat show in the world. Ever. It’s more or less the same format he‘s
been re-inventing on every late-night vehicle for
himself over the past quarter of a century What's On.” So It Goes. The Other Side (If/Midnight. Content. Smartarse btrt casual. every one. Except for the rubbish student quiz show with Frank Sidebottorn. they‘re all pretty legendary Which is a polite way of saying hardly anyone watched them.
Except this time he‘s not on the telly. he‘s not hosting a late-night regional arts programme. he’s part of a press conference. he‘s promoting a movie. he‘s not the one asking the questions for once. but he‘s still doing all the talking.
A maverick. a pioneer. a champion of the arts. at man whose attitude to business can best be defined as ‘cavalier‘. a man whose generosity towards the artist verges on the ridiculous. a rnotorrnouth. a chancer. a twat. Ladies and gentlemen. The Man On The Telly. Mr Tony Wilson.
His guests today are practically family. And just look at the state of them. There‘s his ex-wife. some former business partners and a dead pop star who should've been bigger than any of them. A couple of filmmakers turn up too. just to keep things in order. Not that any of them can get a word in edgeways. The Man On The Telly's like that. All mouth. baggy trousers. A bit like the other man on the telly sitting next to him. taking the piss. as comedians turned actors are wont to do. Pure Alan Partridge is what it is.
The actor playing one of the business partners playing dead. Paddy Considine. is wearing a Joy Division T—shirt. which confuses things somewhat. Because. like most things that happen or don‘t over the next few hours. truth and lies are indistinguishable. but somehow even better than the real thing. Nominally a bleary. tired and emotional Saturday morning after the night before press conference. it‘s actually a post—
16 THE LIST 2B Mar—1 1 Apr PM)?
Factory built a club and put on Madonna, William Burroughs and Bernard Manning
punk Stars In Their lives. Brit—flick actors (‘onsidine. John Sirnrn. Lennie James and Shirley Henderson are all dressed down to tell us how it wasn‘t in 24 Hour l’urtv I’r'uplt’. Michael Winterbottom‘s film of the myth of the crash—and- burn tragedy and farce that was Factory Records. the best record label in the world. liver.
Started in punk‘s first. state—of—independence ﬂourish by a pseudo-situationist narcissist self-publicist. a bit-part actor and a chaser after dreams. Manchester’s Factory Records was cool. Too cool. at first. Think ice age. Bleak. industrial. dark satanic mills. winters of discontent: all that stuff. ()vercoats and Nietzche. Joy Division. mainly. Joy Division were the best band in the world. liver. A shock to the system. they captured the imagination. turned out the lights and let it bleed. Then Ian Curtis. the singer. died. and the stuff of legend was theirs for the taking.
Factory built itself a club before urban regeneration had been invented. called it the Hacienda. and put on Madonna. William Burroughs and Bernard Manning. A virgin. a priest and a god. But even that unholy trinity couldn‘t stop it being rubbish. and it died as well. Later. on Saturday night prime-time nostalgia hour. Wilson said Madonna. who made her British debut at the Hac. had been ‘dumpy‘.
Very eventually. there was light at the end of the tunnel. Factory had fucked art. so let's dance. everyone else said. suddenly smiley. Leading the charge was Happy Mondays. at nouveau Dickensian Ant Hill Mob led by Shaun Ryder. a man for whom the phrase idiot savant has never been more appropriate. Yin to (‘urtis’ Yang. Tweedle-Dee and 'l‘weedle- Dumb. lf Curtis was Dostoyevsky's Raskolinikov. Ryder was the Artful Dodger and Wilson his Fagin. Picking pockets.
In terms of faith. from Joy to i-lappy. with Blue iii-between. from ‘24 l-lours‘ to '24 Hour Party People'. wasn't that big a